Factors that influence hunter success for waterfowl are subject to varying levels of control by managers. The relative influence of these factors is poorly understood, but such information may be valuable to guide management actions intended to promote successful hunting and communicate management decisions to constituents. We used bag-check data to investigate factors influencing hunter success for mallards Anas platyrhynchos and other dabbling ducks (tribe Anatini) during the period 1981-2000 and 2002 at Illinois public waterfowl areas. Competing models of hunter success for mallards and other dabbling ducks included a negative association with average low temperature during the duck season (uncontrollable by managers) and positive associations with estimates of local and continental duck abundance, factors which we considered partially controllable by managers. Although a certain proportion of variation in hunter success for ducks cannot be directly influenced by managers, we suggest that programs and management efforts, which promote larger continental duck populations (e.g. Conservation Reserve Program) and local duck abundance (e.g. provide quality wetland foraging habitats), may positively influence hunter success.
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Factors associated with hunter success for ducks on state-owned lands in Illinios